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 BucFan's Playoff Picture Write-Up

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PostSubject: BucFan's Playoff Picture Write-Up   December 27th 2011, 4:53 pm

Early Playoff Picture

AFC

1. y - Houston Texans (11-2)
[SIZE="2"]The Texans scored 27 points in the second quarter, blasting through the Bengals defense for their eleventh win of the season. They have locked up the division title and are now playing solely for home-field. Matt Schaub is playing the QB position better than anyone else this season, with a league leading 113 QB rating, he should be considered for league MVP. He's approaching 3,000 yards passing and has 21 TD's.[/SIZE]

2. y - Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3)
[SIZE="2"]The Steelers win versus the Browns in dramatic fashion, as Big Ben finds Emmanuel Sanders for 24 yards and the game-winning TD with no time left on the clock. Roethlisberger had an off day (3 picks), with the Browns just falling short of pulling off what would have been the upset of the week. The Steelers have not played their best football over the last two weeks and things certainly do not get easier with having to travel to play the best team in football, the San Fransisco 49ers. The run game needs to improve with Mendenhall finishing the game with 33 yards. Next week could decide whether or not Pittsburgh is able to secure a first-round bye.[/SIZE]

3. New England Patriots (9-4)
[SIZE="2"]The Patriots jumped out to an early lead in Washington last week and held on for the 27-14 victory to move to 9 wins. The Patriots have the easiest schedule of the remaining teams competing for a first-round bye and appear to be the dark horse to land it if they win out. We continue to say as Brady goes so goes the Pats. It's no secret, and although Brady didn't throw a TD pass last week, he didn't turn the ball over, and that proved to be the difference. Have the Pats found a running game?[/SIZE]

4. San Diego Chargers (9-4)
[SIZE="2"]A team that’s easily flown under the radar for most of the season is the Chargers. QB Phillip Rivers has had an OK season, nearing the 3,000 yard mark on the year. TE Antonio Gates leads all tight ends in yards with 1,071. WR Vincent Jackson ranks top 10 in catches (62) and has found the end zone 7 times this season. The Chargers face two CPU teams over the next two weeks which should equate to 11 wins to setup a date with Oakland in week 17.[/SIZE]

5. Oakland Raiders (9-5)[SIZE="1"]won head-to-head matchup vs. Jets[/SIZE]
[SIZE="2"]The Raiders have had a tremendous season. Led by RB Darren McFadden, who is now closing in on 1300 yards and 18 TD’s, the Raiders have ran their way to 9 wins on the year and a good chance to finish at the #5 or #6 wildcard spot. They must win versus the Chiefs, a team they beat in week 7 27-7. That would setup a rematch that could be for the division title in week 17 against the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers won the first meeting 35-21, but this game is must-see TV if the Raiders win this week.[/SIZE]

6. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-5)
[SIZE="2"]The Jags are in a very good position to make the playoff this season as a wild-card. They have three very winnable games remaining starting this week when they visit Atlanta. The Jaguars have relied on good defense, and a rushing attack that’s underrated. Led by Cedric Benson, who’s proven to be a good addition and although he doesn’t have the single-season numbers of MJD, he has still amassed over 700+ yards and 11 TD’s on the year. Rookie Blaine Gabbert has had his struggles, but still completes 62% of his passes. If he continues to play turnover free football, the Jags can hold serve as one of the wild-card teams. [/SIZE]
===============================================
Outside Looking In......
7. New York Jets (8-6)
[SIZE="2"] The Jets come up just short last week in Philly in a game that may have cost them a playoff spot. The offense could only manage one TD when Mark Sanchez connected with Santonio Holmes for a 75-yard TD in the 3rd Quarter. It’s a tough game to lose, especially when the Jets D held the Eagles rushing attack to negative yardage, something no team has done all season long. The Jets now need help from Oakland and Jacksonville while taking care of business the rest of the way with a schedule that includes another date with the Giants and then Miami. Next week’s game against the Giants is obviously a must win for the Jets.[/SIZE]

8. Miami Dolphins (6-7)
[SIZE="2"] The Miami Dolphins must win out and need a lot of help at this point to remain alive for a wild-card spot in the playoffs.[/SIZE]

NFC

1. y - San Fransisco 49ers (11-1)
[SIZE="2"]The 49ers march on with a blowout win over the Cardinals on Sunday. The #1 ranked defense held Blount to 21 yards rushing and limited the passing game to 102 yards while turning over Kolb 2 time through the air. Frank Gore helped control time of possession and the lead with a monster game (150 yards 3 scores, 8 receptions 68 yards). Braylon Edwards also had a big day with 6 catches for 109 and 2 scores. This week provides a test with Pittsburgh coming to Candlestick. [/SIZE]

2. Philadelphia Eagles (11-3)
[SIZE="2"]Ten unanswered points equals ten wins in a row for the Philadelphia Eagles. The win streak stays alive for another week. It also elevates them to the #2 spot ahead of the Buccaneers with wins over more common opponents. If Philly can win out, we show they can lock up the #2 seed and a first round bye with help from the Buccaneers. The Eagles need the Buccaneers to win out and win the NFC South ahead of New Orleans. If the Saints manage to win the South, the Saints can actually earn the #2 seed. The Jets played Philly closer than any opponent over the last 10 weeks, with the win coming with under one minute in the game with a FG by Henery. The last two opponents for the Eagles are the Cowboys and Redskins, both of which lost by double-digits earlier in the year. The one big injury of note is WR Jeremy Maclin, who will miss the remainder of the playoffs with an abdominal tear (10 weeks). Philly does have other weapons on offense but losing Maclin who had 34 receptions for 734 yards and 6 TD’s will be hard to replace.[/SIZE]

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3)
[SIZE="2"]Tampa Bay traveled to Jacksonville to face one of the league's best defenses on Sunday needing a win to stay atop the NFC South. Tampa Bay's offense played one of its best games of the year on Sunday, jumping out to a quick 21-7 lead. Tampa scored on every possession, with Josh Freeman continuing his solid season going 10-11 for 228 yards, 2 TD's and 0 Interceptions. The big story was star CB Aqib Talib going out in the first quarter to injury (out 2 weeks). Veteran Ronde Barber slid over to the #1 position with backups E.J. Biggers and Myron Lewis forced to play more snaps than usual. Both corners played exceptionally well in keeping the Jaguars receivers from getting open down field, forcing Gabbert on multiple occasions to check down on his reads. The Bucs face the Cowboys this week at Raymond James.[/SIZE]

4.y - Minnesota Vikings (9-4)
[SIZE="2"]The Vikings have righted the ship by defeating the Lions. They appear to be a lock for the playoffs with 3 games to go. The next three are not easy wins. They still have an outside chance at earning a first-round bye but will likely need to win out to have a shot.[/SIZE]

5. New Orleans Saints (10-3)
[SIZE="2"]The Saints march on with a big win at Tennessee last week. Brees threw for over 330+ yards with 3 TD’s. WR Robert Meachum turned in an outstanding performance with 105 yards and 2 scores. RB Mark Ingram continues to add to his rookie campaign by going over 100 yards on the day. The Saints are still alive for the division and a first round bye. They need to win out and need help from the Buccaneers and Eagles.[/SIZE]

6. New York Giants (9-4)
[SIZE="2"]The Giants faced a determined Dallas Cowboys team last week which wasn’t decided until well into the 4th quarter. Eli Manning hit WR Domenik Hixon for a 39-yard TD pass to give the Giants the lead with under 4:00. The Cowboys costly turnover gave the ball back to New York who added a FG and final score 24-14. The Giants currently hold a one-game lead over the Panthers, Redskins, and Rams. They control their own destiny and can insure a playoff berth by winning out. This week they face one of the teams wishing to steal the 6th spot, the Washington Redskins. Big game this week in the Meadowlands. [/SIZE]
=======================================================
Outside Looking In....

7. Carolina Panthers (8-5)
[SIZE="2"]The Panthers bounce back with a must-win game versus Atlanta last week. From here, you can easily see why Vegas chose Carolina as its longest shot to make the playoffs for those left in the hunt. With three games left, they face the number one seed in the AFC Houston Texans, followed by the Buccaneers and Saints. It literally cannot get any tougher. And that’s too bad for a very nice rookie season for Cam Newton and company.[/SIZE]

8. St. Louis Rams (8-5)
[SIZE="2"]The Rams still have some people believing they can be the surprise team to make the playoffs, but coach BH_421 insists a one game at a time approach. It all starts this week versus Cincinnati. Outside of the locker-room the prognosticators see a long-shot, but still the potential for the Rams to earn a playoff spot with a week 17 win over the 49ers. Long way to go and many scenarios have to play out for that to happen. But coach is correct, let’s face it, the Rams must win out. [/SIZE]

9. Washington Redskins (7-6)
[SIZE="2"]The Redskins lost to the Patriots last week and like the Rams and Panthers, considered a long-shot to make the playoffs, but still set in a position to play the spoiler in many ways. If Washington can manage a win versus the Giants this week, it continues its playoff hopes while helping the Panthers and Rams. With a win at Philly in week 17, it could push the Eagles out of a first-round bye and snap what would be then 14-game winning streak. The Redskins sure do have a lot to play for over the next three games. They don’t need any motivation.[/SIZE]
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